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Trump Denies Reports of Going Easy on Wells Fargo

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President Donald J. Trump on Friday took aim at Wells Fargo & Co., tweeting that fines and penalties against the bank “will not be dropped.”

“Fines and penalties against Wells Fargo Bank for their bad acts against their customers and others will not be dropped, as has incorrectly been reported, but will be pursued and, if anything, substantially increased. I will cut Regs but make penalties severe when caught cheating!” Trump tweeted Friday morning.

The tweet comes after news reports Thursday that the new acting head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — former Charlotte-area congressman Mick Mulvaney — was reviewing whether Wells should pay tens of millions of dollars over alleged mortgage abuse. In October, Wells disclosed improperly charging some customers fees for mortgage rate lock extensions.

Trump installed Mulvaney, a frequent critic of the CFPB, as acting director after the agency’s longtime leader, Richard Cordray, stepped down last month to run for governor in Ohio. That set up a dispute over who was in charge because Cordray had named Leandra English as his acting deputy director and presumed acting director.

Wells Fargo has been under fire since the fall of 2016 after revelations that employees opened unauthorized customer accounts to meet aggressive sales goals.

Since then, Wells has disclosed missteps in mortgage lending and in auto insurance. In July, the San Francisco-based bank said as many as 570,000 customers may have been charged premiums for auto insurance they did not need. It expects to shell out $130 million to customers affected by the now-discontinued auto product, about $50 million more than originally anticipated.

Wells Fargo spokesman Mark Folk declined to comment Friday on Trump’s tweet.

During the presidential campaign, Trump took shots at Wall Street, including saying he was looking at breaking up big financial firms. But since arriving at the White House, he has taken steps to roll back financial regulations and put Mulvaney in charge of the CFPB, an agency that bank critics helped create as a new watchdog for consumers.

Wells Fargo has its biggest employee hub in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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